*a note: I accidentally used the term 'economic' instead of 'financial', and wrote this entire post based on it. I think it still works. I apologize*
Honestly, I have no idea what to write about economics and minimalism. Buy less, use less, spend less? Are economics really about money? Making profit? What's more economical, the expensive Eames chair that will last forever, or a cheap, second hand La-Z-boy chair that will last through college? Does economical mean you buy a cheap option that does the job, and lasts just long enough? Or does it mean investing in something that lasts longer than you?
How about all those hidden factors you might encounter when trying to decide how to be economic while working on a project; time, stress, creative freedom, client personalities, publicity, etc. I think there is a lot of potential in business, especially service business, to factor in all the non-monetary things as a part of the economic spectrum.
When it comes to economics, and keeping it minimal, what can designers do to improve their economic situation, and minimize the headaches and heartaches? (This is mostly considering (but not limited to) us right now, the nearly professionals)
The United States economics might not be making happy fat piggy banks, or even well fed piggy banks right now. So, let's barter, trade and swap? Roast those piggy banks, sprinkle some of your extra special talent on the top for flavor, and trade it for something you can't pay for, yet.
From an article on MPR about the growth of bartering:
"Our member exchanges have seen an increase in the last 12 months,' said Ron Whitney, who heads the International Reciprocal Trade Association, which represents 85 barter exchanges inside and outside the U.S."
The International Reciprocal Trade Association is a more organized way of bartering, using a point system. The story also featured a story from a man who designed a website in exchange for a new bathroom window, and a woman who did bookkeeping for a farmer in exchange for meat to feed her family. (1)
To bring this to more of a design perspective, perhaps there is a design skill out there you want to learn, but don't know where to start. I mean, kids can even figure out how to barter. One chocolate, frosted cupcake is equal to three, maybe four girl scout cookies. Two Hello Kitty pencils and one Keroppi sharpener for one lightning Gelly Roll pen. Blue.
A quote from another article on bartering in hard times from USA Today from Roger Staiger, a professor at Johns Hopkins University's business school:
"This is part of the underground economy that does not contribute to the GDP (gross domestic product), but it absolutely contributes to helping people and fostering trade," he says.
Perhaps bartering some services, trading what I do for what you do, could get people to help each other out and get started on something when the economics aren't as plump and juicy as they would like them to be. Bartering could be a great way to become referenced and known, which might lead jobs from more people who also agree that business doesn't always mean money.